Science News Roundup: Fossils of giant marine reptiles found high in the Swiss Alps; A fifth of the world’s reptile species considered threatened with extinction and more

Following is a summary of current science news briefs.

Catch a falling rocket with a helicopter? Yes, that’s the plan

Rocket Lab USA Inc. is gearing up for a mission that seems more appropriate for a big-budget action movie: catching a falling four-story-tall rocket booster with a helicopter. The Long Beach, California-based company is trying to slash the cost of spaceflight by reusing its rockets, a trend pioneered by billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Argentine scientists discover the fossil of the largest raptor dinosaur

A team of Argentine paleontologists digging in Patagonia have discovered the remains of the largest dinosaur belonging to the raptor family ever recorded. The dinosaur, a new species named Maip macrothorax, was between nine and 10 meters (29.5 and 32.8 feet) long, while other “megaraptors” were no longer than nine meters, said one of the scientists who participated in the discovery, Mauro Aranciaga Rolando .

Mental health issues in children rose during pandemic; awareness and use of COVID treatments is low

The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that has yet to be certified by peer review. Pandemic linked with mental health issues in kids

Sanders seeks to cut $ 10 billion funding proposal for new NASA lunar lander

US Senator Bernie Sanders asked lawmakers to delete language from a bill that would fund development of a new lunar lander for NASA, a move seen as part of the senator’s effort to nix federal funds that could go to companies owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos. The provision is part of a broad bill that would provide $ 52 billion in semiconductor manufacturing subsidies and authorize additional funds to boost U.S. competitiveness and scientific research.

A fifth of the world’s reptile species considered threatened with extinction

About a fifth of reptile species – from the Galapagos tortoises to the Komodo dragon of the Indonesian islands, from West Africa’s rhinoceros viper to India’s gharial – are threatened with extinction, researchers said on Wednesday in the first comprehensive global status assessment for reptiles. The study examined 10,196 reptile species including turtles, crocodilians, lizards, snakes and the tuatara, the only surviving member of a lineage dating back more than 200 million years. They found that 21% of species are critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable to extinction as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on the status of species. They also identified 31 species that have already gone extinct.

Latest astronaut crew of 4 welcomed aboard International Space Station

Four astronauts, three from NASA and one from the European Space Agency, arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday and docked their SpaceX capsule, just two days after the last crew to depart the orbiting outpost returned to Earth. Rendezvous of the Crew Dragon capsule with the station less than 16 hours after launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, marked one of the fastest flights by Elon Musk’s SpaceX to the ISS from liftoff to docking, NASA webcast commentators said.

Fossils of giant marine reptiles found high in the Swiss Alps

Fossils from some of the largest creatures ever to swim Earth’s oceans – whale-sized marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs – have been found in a counterintuitive place: atop three mountains in the Swiss Alps up to 8,990 feet (2,740 meters) above sea level. Scientists on Thursday described rib and vertebrae fossils from two ichthyosaur individuals: one about 69 feet (21 meters) long and the other about 49 feet (15 meters). They described from a third individual the largest-known tooth from any ichthyosaur with a base 2.4 inches (6 cm) wide and an estimated length of 6 inches (15 cm), suggestive of a fearsome predator.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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